Macron holds crisis meeting amid looming protests

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron summoned government ministers for a crisis meeting on Monday, as tensions ran high a day before another major day of strikes and protests against his pension reforms.

Nearly two weeks after Macron rammed the new law through parliament using a special provision sidestepping any vote, unions have vowed no let-up in mass protests to get the government to back down.

They have called for another big day of action on Tuesday, the 10th such mobilisation since protests started in mid-January against the controversial law, which includes raising the retirement age to 64 from 62.

Macron, whose approvement ratings in opinion polls are at a low point, said last week he accepted the “unpopularity” that came with the reform. His prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, meanwhile said that while there was no plan to drop the legislation, she was ready for fresh dialogue with unions.

“We have to find the right path... We need to calm down,” she told AFP in an interview on Sunday. Starting on Monday, Borne has scheduled talks over three weeks, including with members of parliament, political parties, local authorities and unions.

A state visit to France by Britain´s King Charles III, which had been due to begin on Sunday, was postponed because of the current unrest. Instead of hosting the UK monarch for a day of pomp and ceremony, Macron was instead due to meet Borne, other cabinet ministers and senior lawmakers for the crisis talks at the Elysee from 1:15 pm (1115 GMT), the presidency said.